3 Tbs peanut oil
8 free-range chicken drumsticks
75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
250mL (1 cup) chicken stock or water
1/2 red capsicum (pepper), seeds removed, finely sliced
1 tsp malt vinegar
Black bean and chilli sauce:
1 Tbs light soy sauce
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs malt vinegar
1 Tbs sesame oil
2 Tbs peanut oil
2 large red chillies, halved and seeds removed
2 large green chillies, halved and seeds removed
1 small red onion, finely sliced
20g ginger, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large red chilli, finely sliced on the diagonal
2 Tbs salted black beans
80mL (1/3 cup) Shao Hsing wine or dry sherry
Heat half of the peanut oil in a hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly.
Toss drumsticks in flour to coat, shaking off any excess. Add half the drumsticks to the hot oil and sear for 1 minute each side. Remove drumsticks and drain on kitchen paper. Discard oil and wipe wok clean. Repeat with remaining oil and drumsticks, then wipe wok clean again.
To make the black bean and chilli sauce, combine soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat peanut oil in a hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add halved chillies and cook for 30 seconds each side to blister and slightly blacken. Remove with tongs and drain on kitchen paper. Reserve oil in wok.
Add onion, ginger, garlic, sliced chilli and black beans to hot oil in wok and stir-fry for 2 minutes, stirring regularly to make sure the black beans don’t burn otherwise they will be bitter. Add wine or sherry and cook for 1 minute. Add soy sauce mixture to wok and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
Return drumsticks to wok and toss to coat in sauce for 1 minute. Add stock or water, cover with a lid, bring to the boil, then immediately reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Braise the chicken for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
Remove from the heat, then add capsicum and vinegar to wok and toss to combine.
Serve immediately, garnished with blistered chillies.
I had come to realise that many otherwise enthusiastic cooks were reluctant to try cooking Chinese food, because they thought the ingredients were too exotic, or the technique too difficult. I decided it was high time someone wrote an easy to follow Chinese cookbook that would dispel the myth that Chinese cooking was not for the home cook by presenting simple recipes...I could not have been more thrilled with the response.
Recipes from the book ‘Simple Chinese Cooking Class’ by Kylie Kwong & photography by Earl Carter, published by Lantern RRP $59.95.
Photo Credits: Earl Carter